The Milwaukee Brewers dipped into the international prospect pool every now and again. However, they have yet to sign anyone out of Cuba, where there have been many talented players who have come to make a name for themselves here in the United States. This is now no longer the case.
The signing of Ernesto Martinez Jr by the Milwaukee Brewers is one that should have fans excited for this 17-year-old’s future.
He stands at 6 ft. 6 in. tall and weighs in at 220 lbs. Keep in mind that he is only 17 years old. He looks like he is projected to develop into big-bodied slugger in the future.
His approach at the plate has drawn comparisons to Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes. He has a very strong arm that helps him play all over the outfield. He can also pitch from time to time as he has a fastball that hovers around the mid-90s. He’s also played a few games at first base. His versatility will help his cause to make it to the Major Leagues because we already know that the Milwaukee Brewers are stocked with outfielders at most levels of the Minors.
According to the Baseball Reference Bullpen, Martinez was a huge contributor for team Cuba in the 2014- U 15 World Championship. He batted an incredible .465/.477/.698 with 11 runs scored, 13 RBIs and five doubles. He was the team leader in total bases with 30.
He left Cuba to play for the French national team in 2016 because his father spent time playing there. Martinez would become the youngest player selected by the French national team. He even participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.
During the WBC qualifiers, he earned one start at DH before his father replaced him on the active roster.
He then participated in the 2016- U-18 Championship. He batted only .211/.333/.262.
This signing is a ‘no risk-high reward’ type for the Milwaukee Brewers, as the money, they have paid Martinez will come directly from the Damien Magnifico trade with Baltimore when they acquired international bonus slot number 15.
All in all, this could be another example of Brewers GM David Stearns finding another diamond in the rough. Since Martinez is so young it will be interesting to see how he develops and progresses towards the majors in the next few years.